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Source: China Daily China Daily

US military revises Afghanistan exit plans

Published: 17 Mar 2014 19:40:36 PST

WASHINGTON -- The US military had revised plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan after Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to sign a security pact, US media reported Monday.

The new plan would allow the White House to wait until Karzai left office before signing the bilateral security agreement (BSA), the Wall Street Journal said.

"If he's not going to be part of the solution, we have to have a way to get past him," the newspaper quoted a senior US official as saying.

"The real challenge for the BSA delay is not associated with military planning," the newspaper said, adding the US military was less concerned about the delay.

The revision reflects a growing belief in Washington there is little chance of repairing relations with Karzai and getting him to sign the BSA before elections, scheduled for the spring, according to the Journal.

The Pentagon proposed to the White House in January that 10,000 US troops be kept in Afghanistan after 2014 at a limited number of bases.

The senior US official said the military's revised drawdown plan would allow the United States to wait until the end of summer to begin a final pullout, if one was ordered.

The report said, while the US military now believed it could wait until the summer -- or later -- to decide on a post-2014 presence, other NATO allies had told the Pentagon they are concerned about further delays in getting a security agreement.

Unlike the United States, these countries did not have the equipment and military capabilities needed to wait until the fall to make a final decision, it said.


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